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BSOLO Ghost of Lion Castle.jpg
Stirges, from the cover of Ghost of Lion Castle.
Characteristics image
Publication history
Mythological originsStrix

In the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy role-playing game, the stirge is a mosquito-like magical beast and a classic D&D monster.

Publication history[edit]

Originally presented as a more bird-like creature, the stirge may be derived from the Roman striga, a vampiric owl-like night bird.[citation needed]

Dungeons & Dragons (1974–1976)[edit]

The stirge was introduced to the game in its first supplement, Greyhawk (1975).[1] It is described as a large, bird-like monster with a long proboscis which sucks blood from living creatures.

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 1st edition (1977–1988)[edit]

The stirge appears in the first edition Monster Manual (1977),[2] where it is said to be found in dark, tangled forests or in subterranean lairs, and lays in wait for warm-blooded creatures.

The stirge was detailed in Dragon #83 (March 1984), in the "Ecology of the Stirge".[3]

Dungeons & Dragons (1977–1999)[edit]

This edition of the D&D game included its own version of the stirge, in the Dungeons & Dragons Basic Set (1977, 1981, 1983).[4][5][6] The stirge was also later featured in the Dungeons & Dragons Game set (1991), the Dungeons & Dragons Rules Cyclopedia (1991),[7] the Classic Dungeons & Dragons Game set (1994), and the Dungeons & Dragons Adventure Game set (1999).[8]

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd edition (1989–1999)[edit]

The stirge appears first in the Monstrous Compendium Volume Two (1989),[9] and is reprinted in the Monstrous Manual (1993).[10]

The stirge was again detailed in Dragon #239 (September 1997), in the "Ecology of the Stirge", which also introduced the desert stirge and the jungle stirge.[11]

Dungeons & Dragons 3.0 edition (2000–2002)[edit]

The stirge appears in the Monster Manual for this edition (2000).[12]

The Tome and Blood supplement introduced the stirge familiar for use as a wizard's familiar.

Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 edition (2003–2007)[edit]

The stirge appears in the revised Monster Manual for this edition (2003). The stirge familiar also appears in the revised Dungeon Master's Guide.

Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition (2008–2014)[edit]

The stirge appears in the Monster Manual for this edition (2008).[13]

Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition (2015–)[edit]

The stirge appears in the Monster Manual for this edition (2015).[14]



The stirge needs blood to survive. It finds victims, and then desperately latches onto them with its legs and pincers before finding a weak spot and driving its deadly proboscis in. It sucks out the blood, causing a long, painful death. If the victim dies before the stirge's hunger is quenched, it detaches and finds a new victim. Though they grip onto their victims very excruciatingly, a good blow to one can detach it.

Typical physical characteristics[edit]

A stirge resembles a giant mosquito about the size of a housecat, being one foot long and half a foot wide and tall. It has a set of four leathery, bat-like wings with a span of two feet. It has a long, sharp proboscis, a short tail, barbed legs, and a row of short, curly hairs along the spine. Stirge coloration ranges from brown to rust-red, with the proboscis being pale pink.


Stirges are unaligned, being non-intelligent survivalist predators.


Stirges typically organize into colonies of two to four creatures, flocks of five to eight, or "storms" of up to fourteen creatures.

Critical reception[edit]

The stirge was ranked tenth among the ten best low-level monsters by the authors of Dungeons & Dragons For Dummies. The authors consider the stirge "fun because they introduce the players to the power of some creatures to drain ability score points," commenting: "What's creepier than a giant mosquito that can suck a person dry? A whole flock of giant mosquitos, that's what."[15]


  1. ^ Gygax, Gary and Robert Kuntz. Supplement I: Greyhawk (TSR, 1975)
  2. ^ Gygax, Gary. Monster Manual (TSR, 1977)
  3. ^ Greenwood, Ed. "The Ecology of the Stirge" Dragon #83 (TSR, 1984)
  4. ^ Gygax, Gary, and Dave Arneson [1974], edited by J. Eric Holmes. Dungeons & Dragons Basic Set (TSR, 1977)
  5. ^ Gygax, Gary, and Dave Arneson [1974], edited by Tom Moldvay. Dungeons & Dragons Basic Set (TSR, 1981)
  6. ^ Gygax, Gary, and Dave Arneson [1974], edited by Frank Mentzer. Dungeons & Dragons Set 1: Basic Rules (TSR, 1983)
  7. ^ Allston, Aaron, Steven E. Schend, Jon Pickens, and Dori Watry. Dungeons & Dragons Rules Cyclopedia (TSR, 1991)
  8. ^ Slavicsek, Bill. Dungeons & Dragons Adventure Game (TSR, 1999)
  9. ^ Cook, David, et al. Monstrous Compendium Volume Two (TSR, 1989)
  10. ^ Stewart, Doug, ed. Monstrous Manual (TSR, 1994)
  11. ^ Richardson, Tim. "The Ecology of the Stirge" Dragon #239 (TSR, 1997)
  12. ^ Cook, Monte, Jonathan Tweet, and Skip Williams. Monster Manual (Wizards of the Coast, 2000)
  13. ^ Mearls, Mike, Stephen Schubert, and James Wyatt. Monster Manual (Wizards of the Coast, 2008)
  14. ^ Monster Manual (Wizards of the Coast, 2015)
  15. ^ Slavicsek, Bill; Baker, Rich; Grubb, Jeff (2006). Dungeons & Dragons For Dummies. For Dummies. p. 373. ISBN 978-0-7645-8459-6. Retrieved 2009-02-12.

External links[edit]